Back to the Future in the Kitchen: Background information when reading Consider the Fork

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Consider the Fork

A History of How We Cook and Eat

by Bee Wilson

Consider the Fork by Bee Wilson X
Consider the Fork by Bee Wilson
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Oct 2012, 352 pages
    Oct 2013, 336 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Back to the Future in the Kitchen

Print Review

While Consider the Fork is filled with delicious nuggets about the history of kitchen implements, some geeky gourmands are looking back to the future and revolutionizing the idea of exactly what we consider a kitchen tool.

Beet FoamMolecular gastronomy, the precision cooking that uses emulsification, gellification and other techniques to create tasty and stunningly beautiful dishes, is cutting-edge and is now beginning to take off among cooks who want to create tasty dishes that also have an entertainment factor. Imagine making chocolate spaghetti, mint caviar or balsamic vinegar pearls. Trendy restaurants now create "foam" made of beets or mushrooms and use them as art on created dishes. Molecule-R Gastronomy KitA kitchen tool to make these, Molecule-R, is already available for home kitchens, so this technology is not so much in the distant future as it is in the near future, and even in the now.

Of particular note for the future is MIT Media Lab's creation, The Cornucopia. This food system at its most basic involves the storing, mixing and subsequent "printing" (extrusion) of ingredients to create multiple dishes. Digital Chocolatier PrototypeThere's the Digital Chocolatier, which allows users to design various kinds of chocolate desserts using a set of ingredients. Depending on the recipe created, the machine will mix and extrude the final element into a cup. These machines are also capable of rapid heating and cooling of food ingredients which allows for a much more intense taste than regular cooking can provide.

The Digital Fabricator uses similar principles to create many foods. Ingredients are stored in the fabricator and depending on the recipe, measured in precision quantities, mixed and then deposited in layers on a waiting pad below. Each layer deposited can be heated or cooled differentially creating interesting textures and tastes. Imagine making a lasagna this way!

Then there's the Robotic Chef which allows you to manipulate one food object - injecting vanilla, for instance, into just one spot in a banana or perhaps injecting some sugar syrup and then caramelizing just the top and end parts of a fruit.

The hallmark of these instruments is the marriage between digital fabrication (read precision in every area) and food. Incidentally, Cornell University already has a commercial food printer in the market, which is a simpler version of these machines. It essentially extrudes any material onto a plate or surface. The Cornell machine can use the "printer" to precision-frost a chocolate cupcake. No more shaky hands spoiling your designs!

Ocado High Tech FridgeFinally, imagine a refrigerator that checks out the food inside it, figures out what's low in stock and places a grocery order for you. This fridge of the future is in the works at the University of Central Lancashire in the UK. This fridge would not only check inventory but also bring soon-to-expire foodstuff to the front of the shelves. So for fresh food, just as you do in the stores, you will have to reach way back!

Picture of beet foam from
Picture of Molecule-R kit from
Picture of Cornucopia machine from

Article by Poornima Apte

This article was originally published in November 2012, and has been updated for the October 2013 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Last Ballad
    The Last Ballad
    by Wiley Cash
    Ella May WigginsA hundred years ago or so, farming land west of Charlotte, North Carolina was given over to giant ...
  • Book Jacket: Future Home of the Living God
    Future Home of the Living God
    by Louise Erdrich
    Louise Erdrich began Future Home of the Living God in 2002, set it aside, and picked it up again in ...
  • Book Jacket: The Last Mrs. Parrish
    The Last Mrs. Parrish
    by Liv Constantine
    Amber has lived in poverty all her life, and she has had enough. Of course, wishing to have money ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers

At once a love story, a history lesson and a beautifully written tale of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Story of Arthur Truluv
    by Elizabeth Berg

    An emotionally powerful novel from New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Berg.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E Dog H I D

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.